BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, July 8 (Xinhua) -- More and more Chinese companies in Brunei have hosted "Open House" gatherings for their clients and partners on the occasion of Hari Raya celebration in recent years.
While this could be a good customer relationship strategy on their part, the "Open House" tradition is more about embracing the traditions and customs of the Malay community in Brunei Darussalam.
Hari Raya is a traditional festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It has a special significance for Muslims everywhere. But in Brunei, the celebration takes on a new level of meaning and will last as long as one month.
In the local language, the festive tradition is called Hari Raya Open House which means opening homes to relatives, friends and even strangers and share the joy of the season with guests.
Over the years, many government and private organisations in Brunei have hosted their own version of the Open House tradition for staff and members of the public.
For Chinese companies in Brunei, it has become certainly significant to be included in their own annual calendar of event.
Huawei Technologies (Brunei) Sdn Bhd CEO Zhang Jianwei, who is experiencing the Brunei culture for the first time, said that the "Open House" tradition certainly helps to facilitate more openness and communication.
"It is very important for us to (occasionally) meet each other. As this is my first Hari Raya here in Brunei, I feel excited about it. It is different from other countries," he said.
He added that Huawei has been hosting its own Open House for customers on an annual basis.
In the Open House tradition among the Malay community, relatives and friends are invited to come over and help themselves to a sumptuous buffet in a festive atmosphere. The houses are also decorated with colourful lamps, while the children are given money in green packets by their elders.
However, this tradition is said to be relatively new to Brunei, having only gained popularity in the last quarter of the 20th century. There are those who say that the concept was borrowed from festive gatherings held during the Chinese Lunar New Year, while others argue that the opposite is true.
But whichever it is, the Hari Raya Open House certainly helps to strengthen the cohesiveness within families and the society at large.
"We do respect the Open House tradition here in Brunei," Wang Xiaolin, general manager of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Brunei Branch, told Xinhua during the bank's own Open House on Saturday.
"We find Hari Raya Open House was also a good opportunity for us to express our gratitude to the customers, the people and the government of Brunei."